Houston Texans: Nick Martin is growing as center in 2020

Deshaun Watson Houston Texans Nick Martin (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Deshaun Watson Houston Texans Nick Martin (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans will need Nick Martin at the top of his game for the 2020 season.

Other than the play of quarterback Deshaun Watson, the very most important part of the Houston Texans offense is the o-line because without their success it will be tough for others to have success this season.

Not much will come easy for the Texans this 2020 season — especially in the first four games — but the hard work by starting center Nick Martin this offseason shows that the Texans are committed to proving many naysayers wrong in their quest to reach the playoffs for a third straight season.

Martin has played over 1,000 snaps in each of the past two seasons for the Houston Texans offense, including last season where he played in 96 percent of the offensive snaps in 16 starts. One plus for Martin coming off last season is he had only one holding penalty, and one false start in all of 2019. Martin allowed two sacks in ’19 which has been the norm for the center in his three seasons, which was the sacks allowed total in ’17 and ’18 as well.

This offseason has been one where Martin has said he’s worked on his game in his front yard during the COVID-19 pandemic by pushing sleds, and now it is time to see all of that hard work pay off.

Houston Texans News: Nick Martin speaks about improving daily

Martin spoke to the Houston Texans media last week about preparing for the season. Not only that, but Martin talked about preparing for the mental aspect of the game, and not just the physical side with comments provided by NFL Communications:

"“Yeah, I think just knowledge of the game. The NFL, it’s always changing. There’s always new blitzes every year, every week. Continue to file under d-coordinators and everything, and just keep really growing the mental aspect of the game. And then week by week – I really take it day-by-day.”"

Martin also spoke about watching film and how that affects his overall game of improving the offensive line going into 2020:

"“You watch the practice film. We’re trying to focus one thing on the run the next day, one thing on the pass to get better from the previous day. You kind of just let to build and get a little bit better each day and build on that.”"

When it comes to Houston Texans center Nick Martin there have been times where he is being watched under a microscope because his first three seasons haven’t been perfect. In 2017 Pro Football Focus graded the Texans center at 64.8, followed with a 2018 grade of 65.4, and this past season Martin’s grade was 65.5. When looking at grades by PFF Martin has never really taken the next step in his overall game, but his play is respectable.

Martin and the Houston Texans offensive line have a great opportunity to take the next step in their progression, because the entire starting lineup returns this season, which hasn’t happened before in Martin’s tenure with the team.

The Texans offensive line needs that continuity of all starters returning to become one of the better offensive lines in the league, but again, their overall play as a unit — and individually — has to gain traction too if they want to block for a 1,000-yard rusher for a second straight season, along with protecting Watson.

Martin has one of the most important jobs in the entire NFL because the center is the main focus of the offensive line. He’s also the first player between Deshaun Watson and the opposing defense, but just in his comments this offseason, Martin seems more focused than ever before which can bring the overall improvement needed.

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If Martin and the Houston Texans offensive line are able to improve their game as a complete unit, that means Watson and the rest of the offense can do the same as well, making the Texans a secretly dangerous team entering the 2020 season.